Thursday, 3 April 2008

Ronald Niezen on Ethnocide

A Brit, fed-up with race replacement immigration, claims, with justification, that the principles outlined in the UN’s Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples have been violated in Britain. In the comments thread to an article about the BNP’s chances of gaining a seat on the London Assembly, James Burrows quotes the Declaration adopted by the General Assembly on 13th September 2007 :

Article 7.2 “Indigenous peoples have the collective right to live in freedom, peace and security as distinct peoples”

Article 8.1 “Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture.”

Article 8.2 “States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for:
(a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;
(b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources;
(d) Any form of forced assimilation or integration;
(e) Any form of propaganda directed against them

Quite right Mr. Burrows, and your timing couldn’t be better. Western politicians, spooked by the violent protests of these last few weeks, are finally discussing the decades long program of ethnocide in Tibet. But in sympathising with the Tibetans, and in giving the Dalai Lama a respectful hearing - his solution to the conflict is essentially ethnic-nationalist - these politicians cannot help but compromise their own opposition to Europe’s nationalist movements and spokesmen.

Anyway, a good excuse to post these quotations from Ronald Niezen, The Origins of Indigenism: Human Rights and the Politics of Identity (University of California Press, Berkeley, CA. 2003):

“Ethnocide, ” sometimes also called “cultural genocide, ” occurs more often where the state has a firm grip over a subject people but is still striving to secure its national identity. It is usually manifested in policies or programs of “assimilation” aimed at eliminating stark cultural differences and rival claims to sovereignty that arise from first occupation of a territory. Its goal is the elimination of knowledge of, and attachments to, distinct and inconvenient ways of life. In the nation building of the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere, assimilation policies made use of what was referred to as the “tools of civilization”— the schools of the state, the churches of the Christian faith, and the households of “national families”—to eliminate the attachments of children to the “backward” and “uncivilized” ways of their families and ancestors. [p.55]


That remains true for the New World, and is the case in Europe too. But today the principal targets of the states’ efforts are the White majorities.

Niezen goes on to explain that the ethnocidal regime will also employ mass-murder (genocide) to achieve their ends:

Ethnic cleansing becomes an actuality or latent possibility when a minority people people [more accurately, a subject people ~ fellist] are seen to be significantly obstructing the unity and prosperity of the dominant society: claiming title to land that could be better used; practicing faiths laden with error and malignant powers; insisting upon maintaining traditions that contrast with those of the standard bearers of nationhood; and, by virtue of these differences, competing for political representation and power as a distinct society—such perceived faults lead to a general view of minority people as an obstacle to unity and collective self-actualization by those with power over them. More significantly, the minority is seen as somehow beyond the possibility of reform, unchangeable, stubborn, or, even when “properly” educated, subject to cultural recidivism.

With such perceptions as a starting point, dominant peoples, especially in frontier societies where there is competition over resources, sometimes assert their identities and interests by eliminating, one way or another, the weaker people who stand in their way. Such “cleansing” has taken a variety of forms, including forced expulsion, imposed hunger, and mass killing. The goal of total removal is inseparable from the idea, itself a companion of collective hate, that a subject population cannot be separated from its attachments to cultural differences and assertions of sovereignty. Ethnocide, by contrast, stems from the prevailing notion that cultures are malleable, that entire peoples are capable of guided transformation and therefore that inconvenient or threatening attachments to differences can be peacefully disposed of through strategies of cultural reform.

These basic approaches to eliminating cultural differences are not mutually exclusive. Ethnic cleansing and ethnocide can in fact be seen as complementary, since their main difference is that one has the goal of eliminating a people whereas the other has the goal of removing those features that make them distinct. But it is important also to keep in mind that colonial powers or dominant ethnic groups are not always politically homogeneous or coordinated in their actions, interests, and objectives. State governments can be perfectly willing to negotiate treaties with their indigenous inhabitants—or, more correctly, “neighbors”—while settlers are bent upon their extinction. It is thus conceivable, and realized on a number of occasions, that the sovereignty of indigenous societies can be affirmed through a treaty-making process at the same time that policies are put into effect to remove their cultural differences, all the while that they are being forced onto reservations or starved into submission or that frontiersmen are waging open warfare against them with impunity. [Ibid., p.92]

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